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Statement on death threats directed at Dr Usama Hasan


9 March 2011

I was shocked on Monday 7 March 2011 listening to the BBC Radio 4 "Today" program just after 0600. It reported that a British imam, Usama Hasan, had received death threats. The story with full background is on the Guardian website. A leaflet containing threats has been circulated which is now available on the web. There is a briefing paper from the Quilliam Foundation with additional background material. Usama Hasan himself wrote in January about his conversations with a religious scholar who issued a fatwa against him. There is more background on a blog written by an astrophysicist.

Usama is a friend of mine.

As the above material gives the full background, I will avoid repeating it. Instead, I just want to set out my own views.

  1. We live in Britain, and enjoy full freedom of speech subject only to limitations for matters such as incitement to commit crimes or conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace. Accordingly, nobody has a right to seek to silence Usama Hasan or to issue death threats against him.
  2. It is the responsibility of the police to provide protection for Usama Hasan and his family.
  3. Those who issue such threats should be prosecuted if within the jurisdiction of the UK or if they are in a country from which they can be extradited to the UK.
  4. Such threats have no place in Islam.
  5. The reputation of Islam amongst non-Muslims is damaged by the conduct of people who issue such threats and seek to close down freedom of thought and discussion amongst Muslims.
  6. All right thinking Muslims need to stand up and be counted in resisting such attempts at intimidation.

If you are on Facebook, there is a group you can join to show your support for Usama Hasan and to defend freedom of thought and conscience.


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Rizwan Sayed says:
10/03/2011 at 09:51

I completely agree with your comments. Muslims have absolutely no right to give such death threats. There is no compulsion in matters of deen - people need to be attracted to Islam and not repelled by such behaviour.


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